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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


UWPD’s ‘Don’t be that guy’ not right campaign to prevent sexual assault

Cliché saying trivializes the seriousness of rampant issue, alienates male population; not as socially respectful as ‘Badgers Get Consent’ motto
Courtesy of UWPD

University of Wisconsin Police Department’s latest campaign against sexual assault leaves the male student population chewing on the provocative, but elegantly-simple motto, “Don’t Be That Guy.”

A couple days before classes started, I was on the bus and found myself surrounded by UWPD’s new slogan posted on multiple signs around the bus.

“Don’t Be That Guy:” cool, fresh, hip, new-aged, cultured and something all of us young, intellectual college students can really relate to.


Nope. Until I see members of UWPD walking around wearing salmon shorts and ending every statement with “bro,” this slogan won’t really do much for me.

By no means do I ever aspire to be that so-called guy, but this campaign just seems like another clichéd attempt for the older generation to connect to the younger one.

It’s just like when parents try to pick up on their kids’ lingo and use it in conversation with them. It comes off as tacky.

I get what UWPD is trying to do. I have to admit some of the posters are rather powerful, but I honestly do not think flooding the campus with the words “Don’t Be That Guy” is the best way to prevent sexual assault.

First of all, these posters quite literally alienate the entire male half of the population.

Sure, it’s true a vast majority of sexual assault cases include women as the victims, but we shouldn’t speak in social absolutes on an equality-striving campus notorious for amplifying the voice of the minority.

That’s a bold move to say the least. “That Guy.” Who is “That Guy”? The stereotypical frat-star douche who’s been sipping a glass of water at a party, claiming it’s Grey Goose, and hitting on very inebriated girls who can barely stand, let alone give consent.

This motto kind of puts anyone with the XY chromosome on the same level as that frat-star douche.

Apparently they get we’re guys, but they’re asking us not to be “That Guy,” whatever that means. How about “Don’t Be That Person”?

It doesn’t flow off the tongue as smoothly, but it’s definitely not the worst alternative.

Further, I can understand the utilization of a common phrase to get a point across, but I don’t know if “Don’t Be That Guy” is a good one to associate with an issue as serious as sexual assault.

There are many instances where being “That Guy” is something as insignificant as bumping into the beer-pong table at a party. I’m no expert, but putting sexual assault on a similar level as the average party foul is probably not the best idea.

What really sets me off is UWPD thought this slogan was so clever they decided to make it this year’s battle cry against sexual assault.

What happened to the “Badgers Get Consent” slogan? That called for unity amongst all Badgers against the social issue that is sexual assault. There’s no alienation of one gender and no tacky, cliché saying. That is something I can get behind.

But like I said, I understand what UWPD is trying to do and I can appreciate it. I just don’t think “Don’t Be That Guy” is the right choice as the battle cry against sexual assault.

I do, however, think the theme of the posters has its time and place, but as the main slogan of a campaign striving for social respect, it leaves a lot to be desired.

Phil Michaelson ([email protected]) is majoring in biomedical engineering.

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